Posts Tagged ‘Daintree insects’
This beautiful Zodiac Moth, Alcides metaurus or zodiaca, has an amazing display of irridescent yellows and pinks against black. The interesting thing is that it is diurnal (active during the day), whereas most moths are nocturnal. Like other members of the Uraniidae moth family, the preferred food of the caterpillars are plants in the Euphorbiaceae family, such as Omphalea queenslandica and Homolanthus populifolius – bleeding-heart tree. Resembling swallow-tail butterflies in shape, the moths give themselves away by flattening their wings, as they settle on the leaf and rotating to face down towards the ground.
Pink Princess or Pink Flowered Doughwood or Corkwood (Melicope elleryana) is currently flowering out of its branches in the Daintree Rainforest. This successional species of rainforest tree grows to around 25-metres tall with a base diameter of 60 cm. The trunk has a white, corky appearance, with a tendency to slightly buttress at the base. This tree is the favoured food plant for the spectacular Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses).
Zodiac Moth (Alcides metaurus) has eluded my camera for many years, but I believe I got it this morning. Frustratingly skittish, the moth took off and re-landed many times over, in each instance positioning itself head down. Lyssa macleayi, from the same family, does likewise, offering the pretense of antennae furthest from the ground, to deceive birds into attacking at the unsuccessful end.
Porcelain Fruit or Yellow Heart (Fragrea cambagei) flowers are strewn along our rainforest trails as this beautiful understorey tree gives promise of lots of fascinating porcelain fruits or Pink Jitta. The trumpet-shaped flowers are creamy yellow and open to receive the pollinator, which has yet to be identified. The spent flowers drop down onto the forest floor from the developing fruit and some perfectly smooth, round green fruit about 2cms in diameter have formed already. There is no indication at this stage, of what is occurring inside the fruit.
Trap-jaw ants (Odontomachus cephalotes) reputedly have the fastest moving predatory appendages within the animal kingdom. A pair of large, straight mandibles, capable of opening 180-degrees and snapping shut up to 230 kilometres per hour and with a peak force in the order of 300-times the body weight of the ant, makes for a mighty powerful bite!